Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Hair Of the Dog

I am getting my hair cut and highlighted tomorrow. It actually needed doing about six weeks ago, but trying to book consecutive appointments with a stylist and a colourist is harder than gaining an audience with the Dalai Lama. With the combination of extensive dark re-growth and long straggly split ends, my head is starting to resemble a jellyfish.

In the past when I went to the hairdressers, I used to look for inspiration by flicking through the salon’s magazines. I gave that up when I realised that pointing hopefully at a photo of some glossy-maned model always sent the salon junior into a fit of giggles. I also remember one particularly sulky stylist mumbling something about being a hairdresser, not a magician. Time after time, my bright-eyed optimism has been dampened by the assertion that I don’t have ‘that sort of hair’ by which, I suppose, they mean the sort that actually looks good after a trip to the hairdressers. So now, I just sit there swathed in sweaty nylon, while the stylist cuts my hair in exactly the same style I had before, regardless of what I asked for. Still, on the bright side, I have ample opportunity to sit in front of a large mirror, staring at my haggard reflection, and marvelling at my increasing resemblance to my mother.

I often wonder why no-one is allowed to escape the salon’s clutches without having their hair blow-dried. I would quite happily just give mine a brisk rub with a towel on the way out, since I always hate the way they blow dry it, and can’t wait to re-do it myself. Whenever the stylist enquires above the noise of the hairdryer as to whether I am going out that night, I always have to resist the temptation to shout ‘No, I have already missed this year’s Bobby Charlton convention.’

The final insult in this whole sorry exercise is the extortionate cost. Every time I pay a hairdresser’s bill, I swear that next time I’m going to cut it myself. But, like wearing pop socks with a skirt, it seems that cutting your own hair is one of those unmistakeable signs of descending into muttering insanity.

I am taking some consolation in a glass of chilled Araldica Madonnina Gavi (currently £5.99 down from £6.99 at Ocado). This wine is a regular tenant of the Drunk Mummy cellar, and its crisp, clean lemon taste is just what I need. I am starting to think about radical action tomorrow on the hairstyling front – a Mohican perhaps, or maybe dreadlocks? I could always opt for a rebellious streak of bright blue, like an East European au pair. Sadly, I expect that I will simply be sitting here tomorrow with a shorter, blonder version of what I have now, and a considerably lighter bank balance.


beta mum said...

I've sometimes thought of taking a photo of myself twenty years ago and saying
"Can you do that please?"
And they'll say,
"Sorry, you haven't got the right hsir/face/bank balance."

Stay at home dad said...

Now that you would have to wear the sash for, Beta Mum.

As ever we men have it easier. "Do you want it washed?" "No." "What do you want?" "An inch off please." ....."£8 please." "Keep the change!"

lady macleod said...

I think the most severe form of testing one's self esteem is sitting in that chair, in that hokey gown, in bad lighting, with your make-up running from the rinse, and your hair soaking wet and parted down the middle! Make it through that and you are ready for an audience with the Queen.

Vanessa said...

Totally agree about the horror of sitting in the chair. Foreshortening means that your legs look disproportionately chunky, the gown is always of such an unflattering colour that you look drained of life and despite the fact that you've put a bit of slap on, the lighting is so fierce that you might as well have not bothered. And, as you say, you sit there, realising just how much you are growing to look like your mother. Coupled with the fact that sometimes you shout at your children only to hear your mother's voice come out, it's all too depressing...

Mya said...

I envy you,Drunk Mummy. I have fond memories of visits to the hairsalon. Budget, geography and fear now prevent me from entering such establishments. In rural France, your hair colour options are limited to ginger, paprika, aubergine,tomato and carrot. And there seems to be only one style, think Ruth Madoc(sp). If I were a poodle, I'd have more choice.

When will you be sampling a Corbiere?

debio said...

lady m and vanessa say it all; but I must repeat the bit about the lighting. The items in a bathroom showroom are illuminated to greater effect - I swear I never look so bad as when I'm staring into the mirror in a salon. Talk about a near-death experience - what with that, the inane conversation and the mind-numbing magazines, I'll pay anything to escape!

Akelamalu said...

I have a mobile hairdresser who does wonderful cuts - in whatever style I ask for - and doesn't charge the earth. However, I hate the way she blows and finishes it but I never say so, I just do it myself when she leaves!

Mopsa said...

Let's reclaim the blow (dry) job. "I don't want to look like I'm wearing a toupee, I don't want to look like anyone's grandmother (even if I am one, which I'm not), and I don't want to look like that woman you did immediately before me. Don't even think about using hairspray. Don't fill my hair with slimey stuff that dries hard. Just make me look like Julia Roberts/Michelle Pfeiffer/Angelina Jolie. I am not the queen. I am not even a lady in waiting. Do you understand?". Feel so much better for that barbering rant.

Omega Mum said...

When I turned round on the school run, this woman put her hand to her mouth and, looking really shocked, said, "Oh, it's you. I wasn't expecting it." I'd just had my hair cut. What a morale booster.

The Good Woman said...

When I live in Africa I keep my hair short - a funky crop that requires no day to day maintenance to speak off but requires a six weekly visit to 'the chair' - at a cost of around £5 a throw.

In Europe (this includes my time on the continent),I just let it grow. Who can be bothered to pay so much, and besides, the hairdryer helps me to defrost in the morning.

Frog in the Field said...

Dear Drunk Mummy,
I too braved the hairdresser this week. "Try that new trendy salon on Church Street" my husband said. Well, the first clue not to go was in their own signs that actually pointed away from the shop (no, I'm not exagerating!).
I explained to the receptionist that I was terribly sorry I was late but I had followed the signs to the entrance and ended up in the car park at the back of a row of shops. I'm not entirely sure of her response as she resembled "Cousin It" and so speech was muffled and facial expressions hidden.
I opened the school bus door and was greeted with "Oh Mum, you've had your hair cut, it looks really stupid!"
I opened the second school bus door an hour later and had exactly the same comment.
My husband agreed, "they've ruined your hair" he said.
Smallest daughter said simply "Don't like it Mummy!"
Please, please have a word with Ocado, they just won't deliver here and I need some liquid support!

mutterings and meanderings said...

I used get really upset by hairdressers because they always cut off more than I wanted.

I am very blase about it now... I have the ends whipped off by a professional but I highlight it myself. I mkae just as good a job for about a tenth of the price...

Drunk Mummy said...

beta mum - it's the stifled sniggers I find hard to take.

SAHD - that is so annoying! If you said you didn't want your hair washed, just cut, most women's salons would refuse you an appointment.

lady macleod - aaarghhh, yes, the flat middle parting! That is never a good look.

vanessa - I agree, it is all like a particularly bad dream. Then it comes to paying, and the nightmare becomes all too real.

Hello mya!
There must be plenty of artificial redheads in rural France. It must look like one big kitchen garden.
I did have a Corbiere just the other day (June 7th) - a Tesco Finest. Is that the area of France you are from?

debio - it does look like a near-death experience - especially with that ghostly gown!

akelamalu and mopsa - exactly! Why is the wretched blow-dry seen as so important? Glad you feel better Mopsa!

omega mum - some people are so insensitive! Just wait for your revenge - it will come.

good woman - using the same line of thinking, I did consider shaving my head for a while. Just think of the time I would save in the mornings!

frog in the field - sometimes honesty is really NOT the best policy.
Even if Ocado don't deliver, don't you have gallons of France's finest brew nearby? In the way that people used to think that the streets of London were paved with gold, I have a similar romantic notion that everyone who lives in France has a tap next to their sink that dispenses wine. Don't disillusion me!

M&M - you are a very brave woman! I haven't been near any home dye kits since an unfortunate incident with some henna in the Eighties.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I initially did it through poverty a few years ago, then realised that actually, I was making as good a job of it as the 'professionals'.

Bite the bullet and try it yourself next time - Wella hair Streaking kit, you can't go wrong!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I once saw a woman elbow the stylist out of the way, stand up from her chair (gasp), seize the hairdryer, tip her head upside down and blow dry her own hair. The stylist looked on with a set jaw, cheeks sucked in, mouth a thin, straight line. I dread to think what they said about HER when she left.

I find it most galling when i sit for a therapeutic hour to have my lovely man (pre-france) cut and style my hair, and then dry it dead straight, piling on the products to make it silky and shiny. I go home, knowing that I have a window of half an hour when my hair will look this good, and my husband says, 'wow, you look great, will you do it like that tomorrow?'. Pah!

Drunk Mummy said...

M&M - my, you're a canny lass. I may just have a go.

Pig - did the rest of the salon cheer in the manner of that final scene in 'An Officer and a Gentleman' when Richard Gere scoops up Debra Winger?
As with most things in life, the 'morning after' a salon trip is never good. I always wake up with one huge bump-like protrusion of hair on one side of my head. The other side is always completely flat.